A group of residents concerned about the prospect of a wind-farm cable proposed for the Hamptons hamlet of Wainscott has formed an exploratory committee to consider incorporating as a village, according to a letter sent to homeowners.
The letter says the committee has been exploring incorporation for 10 months and has already hired lawyers, surveyors and municipal finance consultants. It asks Wainscott residents to join a new Exploratory Committee for the Incorporation of Wainscott.
While opposition to the planned Orsted offshore wind-farm cable for LIPA has been a motivating force of contention, the group’s letter takes note of six other issues for which incorporation would allow the exercise of greater control over zoning and provide more services. Wainscott would join Sagaponack, Sag Harbor and East Hampton in operating as an incorporated village within the Town of East Hampton.
Among those issues, the letter states, incorporation would allow the proposed village to “significantly influence the decision on whether Orsted can land its high-power electric cables in Wainscott when other less impactful alternatives have now been uncovered that the [East Hampton] Town board and Trustees ... as well as the company, are willfully ignoring.”
According to the letter, the plan would also allow the proposed village to: help shape the future of East Hampton airport when Federal Aviation Administration restrictions expire next year; better address a zoning proposal to subdivide a 70.5-acre sand-and-gravel pit in Wainscott; set and enforce lower speed limits; and “protect our unique agricultural heritage.”
The village would also enact more stringent energy conservation and green zoning rules and “better remediate contamination of our water,” the letter states.
“We would, in essence, have the representative government we do not now have — and need more than ever — as an incorporated village within East Hampton,” the group wrote, noting that none of the current 14 elected officials from East Hampton Town are from Wainscott.
East Hampton Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc called the Wainscott group's effort "disappointing" and said he disagreed with the notion that the town hasn't been receptive to Wainscott's concerns.
He called the initiative "really just an effort to turn Wainscott into a gated community," where a "very limited number of people who are extremely wealthy" are attempting to limit beach access, prevent affordable housing and "be able to fly their jets and helicopters to their second homes."
"The majority of the people of Wainscott understand our efforts and that we've been working hard for them," he said. "I think it would be a shame for Wainscott to break away from the rest of the town."